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Scrap pre-season competitions -- Prenty

SCRAP the subsidiary provincial pre-league competitions if that is what is needed to ensure that inter-county players get a proper break from training.

That's the radical suggestion of Connacht secretary John Prenty in response to the barrage of criticism that still surrounds the GAA's closed season.

Prenty's comments in his report to next Thursday night's Connacht Convention in Curry clearly indicate that he is sceptical that the closed season is being unilaterally observed.

But he denied yesterday that he has any concrete proof of this.

"There's a lot of urban myths and Chinese whispers going around about it," he said.

"My comments are intended to prick the conscience of the very people who made this decision.

"It was delegates to Congress that voted to bring in the ban and it is hypocritical now not to ensure that it is implemented."

Prenty will remind delegates that "one of the main complaints proffered by team managers, in particular, is that players are not getting enough pre-season work done before the commencement of the subsidiary competitions, and that this may add to an increase in injuries.

"If this is the main objection to the closed season then there is a very simple solution.

"Let us hold on to the closed months of November and December and scrap the subsidiary competitions.

"Let the team manager have 'his players', as he calls them, for the five weeks before the start of the Allianz Leagues," Prenty continues.

"Let him run them up hill and down dale three or four times a week if that is what the Association thinks best."

Prenty is clearly frustrated by how decisions made at annual Congress are subsequently slammed by both managers and administrators, pointing to the criticism of the closed season, and the decision to cut league panels down to 26 players, as prominent cases in point.

"It is time for some collective responsibility in the Association," he said.

"Otherwise chaos and anarchy will prevail."

Irish Independent